Poneke on Climategate

January 18th, 2010 at 11:34 am by David Farrar

Poneke has done something very few people have done. He has read every single of the 1,000+ Climategate e-mails. He has a lengthy 4,500 word blog post on his findings. Poneke introduces it by saying:

This is the longest and most important article I’ve yet written for this blog and I make no apology for its 4600 words — more also than in any newspaper article. As a journalist, I believe the Climategate emails have exposed one of the most significant news stories of the decade. As the mainstream news media has so far barely gone beyond giving those who wrote them and their supporters time and space to deny their undeniable contents, I present here an extensive journalistic account of what they actually say in the context of the dates and events in which they were written, with full links to all the emails.

Now, for those who don’t know who Poneke is, or his background – he is not just a “blogger”. He has spent at least a couple of decades in journalism, and I think it is fair to say that he was regarded by many as one of the finest investigative journalists we have had. His work on the Peter Ellis case especially was peerless.

Poneke’s conclusions:

Having now read all the Climategate emails, I can conclusively say they demonstrate a level of scientific chicanery of the most appalling kind that deserves the widest possible public exposure.

The emails reveal that the entire global warming debate and the IPCC process is controlled by a small cabal of climate specialists in England and North America. This cabal, who call themselves “the Team,” bully and smear any critics. They control the “peer review” process for research in the field and use their power to prevent contrary research being published.

The Team’s members are the heart of the IPCC process, many of them the lead authors of its reports.

They falsely claim there is a scientific “consensus” that the “science is settled,” by getting lists of scientists to sign petitions claiming there is such a consensus. They have fought for years to conceal the actual shonky data they have used to wrongly claim there has been unprecedented global warming this past 50 years. Their emailed discussions among each other show they have concocted their data by matching analyses of tree rings from around 1000 AD to 1960, then actual temperatures from 1960 to make it look temperatures have shot up alarmingly since then, after the tree rings from 1960 on inconveniently failed to match observed temperatures.

The emails show that some of them at least concede in private that the world was warmer 1000 years ago (in the Medieval Warm Period) than it is today, but the emails also show they had to get rid of the MWP from the records to claim today’s temperatures are unprecedented.

They show Team members becoming alarmed and despondent at global temperatures peaking in 1998, then slowly falling to the present, while publicly trying to hide the fact that there was a peak and now a decline.

Revealingly, they show them even smugly nominating each other for prestigious awards, using factually wrong details in the information sent in nominating letters in support of the awards.

He looks at the peer review process:

AGWarmers parrot the mantra that their view is supported by learned articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals and that peer-reviewed contrary views cannot be found. The Climategate emails conclusively show that the Team control the peer-reviewed literature, to the extent they “peer review” each other’s reports, and veto publication of research they do not support, bullying the editors and owners of scientific journals.

Worse, though, is the emails’ revelation that even material they put into the hallowed reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was not peer reviewed, and knowingly shabby.

And the “hide the decline” trick:

What this is saying – and no amount of obfuscation can alter the fact – is that a 1000-year “global temperature” chart was created – fabricated – by using tree-ring proxy data from 1000 to 1960, then using actual temperatures from 1961 on, to “hide” the fact that the tree ring proxies showed a “decline” from 1960 onwards. There can not be a more blatant example of using apples and oranges to “prove” a point than this, and they would have got away with it if not for the Climategate whistleblower.

Poneke’s full post is a must read.  It is also the sort of journalism that should be in the mainstream media. Has any daily newspaper assigned a reporter to read all 1,000 e-mails?

Poneke says avoid Airbus

January 19th, 2009 at 1:23 pm by David Farrar

Poneke, a dedicated transport wonk, says the initial details of the Air NZ Airbus crash are so disturbing that he recommends people avoid travelling on any Airbus model until they are sorted:

This is, as I said, deeply disturbing. Until this issue is fully sorted out and the computer issues resolved, I will not be going on any Airbus model again and will be advising everyone I know to follow suit. And I say this as someone who has always argued that flying in large passenger jets is incredibly safe. My faith in Airbuses is not that positive any longer.

Blog Bits

December 29th, 2008 at 4:20 pm by David Farrar

Poneke is in Brisbane and has discovered it has the buzz of prosperity:

On the surface, the prosperity can be seen in the world-class infrastructure of roads and electric rail lines that Auckland in particular has not been able to achieve despite decades of talk; the very high standard of housing, commercial buildings and public facilities; the wages that really are stunningly higher than at home; the many job vacancies in the papers even on the Saturday after Boxing Day. Australia has not had a single quarter of negative growth this year while we have had three (though the Aussies fret about it and fear recession might still happen). I could go on.

MacDoctor shares some first hand experience of emergency clinics:

An article in the Weekend Herald (not yet online) entitled “High cost stopping Kiwis visiting the doctor” tells us that over two thirds of New Zealanders over 20 have avoided visiting a doctor because of the cost. I didn’t need any research to tell me this is true, because these people pitch up to emergency departments throughout the country with the line, “I couldn’t afford to go to my GP”  or it’s alternative “I owe my GP too much money”. …

I view these two excuses with a great deal of cynicism. Many who use these lines are drunk or have nicotine stains on their fingers (or both). They drive up in expensive cars and sport MP3 players (many are genuine iPods). They typically arrive not long after the GPs have all closed for the evening, or over the weekend. These are the “milkers of the system”  – They know how to work the health system to their advantage and they use Emergency Departments like a GP clinic. …

I suspect most of the two thirds of New Zealanders who said that they do not go to a doctor because of cost, are really saying that they would rather spend their time and money on something other than their health. It has nothing to to with lack of access and much to do with lack of interest. Until we, as a society, start to see that health is important and worthy of investment, this problem will not go away, regardless of the amount of money governments may throw at it.

Hear hear. I think all bar the very poorest should pay something towards their healthcare.

Bernard Hickey recommends a Kim Hill interview with JJ Joseph – a man who used to beat his wife. It’s a very moving interview that shows people can turn their lives about.

And finally Lynn Prentice at The Standard manages to link Bernie Madoff’s ponzi scheme to National’s planned repeal of the EFA. The hilarious part is:

based on recent experience of their autocratic, arrogant, and undemocratic behavior in the house, we will probably see some opaque, badly written, and badly thought through legislation pushed through under urgency.

What does he call the EFA if not badly written and badly thought through? And he ignores of course that unlike Labour, National has said it will consult all parties over the replacement legislation. It was Labour that tried to use bipartisan electoral law to screw over its enemies.

Poneke on South Park

October 16th, 2008 at 11:47 am by David Farrar

Poneke blogs:

The 12th season of the riotously irreverent animated comedy series South Park begins its run on C4 tomorrow (Thursday) night at 9pm.

This season began in the US in March, and after an interval is still running. As there are only some 14 episodes a year, this show is a treat.

Just why it is buried on C4 is as big a mystery as why Flight of the Conchords was buried on Prime at 10pm on Monday nights. When South Park began here a decade ago, at least it was on TV3 which is accessible to far more viewers than C4.

I am a huge fan of South Park and it also puzzles me why it is only played on C4, and why they delay showing it so long after it shows in the US.

While my daughter, 15, loves South Park, having watched it since she was five, it is neither a children’s show nor a music show

Good God Poneke, you’ll have CYFS knocking on your door for that admission 🙂

South Park, which was created by the geniuses Trey Parker and Matt Stone and became Comedy Central’s first big hit, gets stuck into every sacred cow going, from global warming to gay rights, Tom Cruise to child sexual abuse, religion to charity.

It is truly offensive to everyone, but in such a clever way you love it, instead of get offended.

Series 12 starts with Cartman getting AIDS after a tonsils operation and trying to infect Kyle with it before subsequent episodes move on to trash Brittney Spears and Mrs Garrison, the teacher who used to be Mr Garrison but now wants a penis back. Don’t ask, just watch.

The best 22 minutes of the week! 🙂

STV vs FPP for Wellington

September 8th, 2008 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Poneke has voted for STV in the Wellington referendum, despite earlier calling it a failure.

I blogged my views in March:

Now I actually support STV in many types of elections. In fact I introduced constitutional changes to InternetNZ so that candidates are elected by what is effectively STV, not FPP. National uses a form of STV for its internal elections for candidates and the board. I like and support STV in situations where it works well.

STV works well when the voter has a relatively small number of candidates to choose from, and they know most or all of the candidates. When you know the candidates you can quite easily make an intelligent choice about ranking X No 1, Y No 2 etc.

However STV is an unmitigated disaster for DHBs and a partial disaster for Councils. …

With regard to Councils, it is not quite as bad.  I actually like STV for voting for the Mayor. There is only one position to fill and it is possible to fairly sensibly rank say half a dozen candidates for Mayor. I like being able to express a second and third preference should my first preference fail to be elected.

But then when you come to wards, it becomes near useless again because again not even the political geeks can sensibly rank say 15 people competing for three Council positions. And so we have a 10% fall in turnout over two elections.  If you want to keep STV then you need small one person wards.

I could advocate STV for the Mayor, and FPP for Council but that may be too confusing.  So if WCC is to have one electoral system only, then FPP is best.

My position has not changed. Sadly I am going to vote for FPP.

However my preference would be to have smaller single Councillor wards, as if that happened then I think STV would work fine for both Mayor and Council.

Sensing Murder

September 7th, 2008 at 5:30 pm by David Farrar

Poneke applies the blowtorch to the Dom Post’s front page free advertising for the charlatans:

It is thus deeply disappointing to see the Dominion Post giving a huge promotion to this hokum, with a front page splash on Friday claiming the police “have resorted to interviewing two television psychics in a desperate search for a new lead” into the suspected murder of Kaye Stewart, not seen since she went walking in Rimutaka Forest Park in 2005.

Reading this breathless, shoddy story (which took up two thirds of page one), it is apparent that it was Sensing Murder that approached the police offering information about Mrs Stewart, and then told the Dominion Post that the police had “interviewed” its “psychics” Kelvin Cruickshank and Deb Webber.

The story is nothing more than a front page, free advertisement for this shonky show, which is to feature an episode about Mrs Stewart on Tuesday night. One thing is certain, the show has not helped the police inquiry in any way …

The headline was very misleading. It made you think the Police has called in the psychics because they thought they could help.

I flayed Sensing Murder back in January, with a post about Christchurch man Tony Andrews offering $20,000 of his own money to any of the shows “psychics” if they could demonstrate in a simple test that they actually had psychic abilities. Naturally, neither the show nor its four “mediums” – who also include Sue Nicholson and Scott Russell Hill – have shown any interest in taking the test, because, I argued, they know they are perpetrating a cruel sham. “They have the psychic powers of tadpoles, and they know it,” I wrote then.

I’ll believe in such powers when they pass a controlled test such as the one above. But believing these charlatans have some sort of power because of Sensing Murder, is like believing David Copperfield really can cast magical spells because of his TV shiw.

Blog Bits

June 18th, 2008 at 3:12 pm by David Farrar

Poneke laments how Waterfront Watch’s campaign against the Wellington Hilton, has meant no waterfront development is likely for a decade. Instead we are left with those awful tin sheds.

Bruce Simpson at Aardvark covers the efforts of Associated Press to claim that even using their headlines is a breach of the US DMCA. This may be very significant if bloggers are not able to significantly quote articles in order to critique them.

Whale Oil detects more links between The Standard and Labour or more specifically labour.co.nz. The Standard responds. A great thread for those who get hot with talk of DNS and MX records 🙂

The Economist looks at the school system in Finland and Sweden.

And since I’m coming this far north, I want to take in Sweden too. That social-democratic paradise has carried out school reforms that make free-market ideologues the world over weak at the knees. In the 1990s it opened its state-education system to private competition, allowing new schools to receive the same amount for each pupil as the state would have spent on that child.

The Dim-Post has some solutions for the South Auckland crime wave:

  • Limit numbers on all polytechnic courses teaching home invasion and armed robbery techniques.
  • Increase existing levels of sedatives and oral contraceptives in Manukau water supply.
  • Create an economic disincentive to homicide by amending the Emissions Trading Scheme to double carbon fees on vehicles used during a murder
  • Introduce cultural sensitivity training to South Aucklands migrant communities teaching them to be more open and tolerant towards the kiwi tradition of random assault and pointless execution style killings.
  • Point to multiple Asian murders as irrefutable statistical evidence for sending ‘em all back.

Also, finally not a blog but of interest to EFA watchers is this note of a meeting between Federated Farmers and the Electoral Commission over the EFA.

Thanks from the arrested Saudi blogger

May 19th, 2008 at 8:44 am by David Farrar

Both Poneke and myself received a very unexpected but lovely e-mail from Fouad al-Farhan, the Saudia Arabian blogger who was detained without charge for 137 days, and released finally last month. He thanked us for our support.

The Hive also did a lot and Poneke actually asked MFAT officials whether the NZ Government would take action. Sadly the most they would do is have a “watching brief”. No Right Turn, and no doubt other blogs, also lent their support. Oh yes the EPMU also supported the Government taking action.

While I am sure the blogs had no impact on the Saudi Government (hell we couldn’t even get the NZ Government to stand up for freedom of speech), Fouad says that he found it incredibly heartening to be released and read how people in NZ were advocating on his behalf. Through a NZ professional wrestler who once visited his vlllage to promote Anchor dairy products, he has always wanted to visit NZ.

Extracts from the e-mail:

Dear David, I’m Fouad Al-Farhan. I’m the Saudi Blogger who was arrested 137 days because of his political writing in Saudi Arabia. In the mid 80s when I was a kid, the famous New Zealand wrestler Tony Garea (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tony_Garea) visited our small villiage here in Saudi Arabia (Albaha) on a marketing campaign to promote the famous NZ cheese (Anchor). In that days, wrestling meant a big thing to my people. My village people loved Tony Garea before his visit. When he arrived, they made a big welcome festival for him. They even danced and said poems about his heroism. I still remember parts of it.

I replied, pointing out that many Kiwis would find it very amusing that a professional wrestler promoting cheese was our most successful marketing campaign 🙂

All my friends know about my dream of visiting New Zealand for a lengthy backpacking journey. I’m not sure if it’s going to happen anytime soon. I always have great admiration of the NZ people and the country. My best friend who was lucky to live there for a year keep telling me lovely stories about how peaceful and blessed your land is.

We do forget sometimes how lucky we are.

My government put me in a solitary confinement for 137 days. My cell was 2×3 meters. I never saw anybody except the interrogators once every couple of weeks. The rest of the days I was alone. They didn’t allow me to watch T.V, listen to radio, read any books or magazine or newspaper. I was not allowed to have a pen and a paper to write. I never saw the sun. I was completely cut off the world. All I had is our holy book (Quran) and prayer rug. So, I had a lot of time to think about my life. One of things that always came on mind in prison was New Zealand and my dream backpacking journey.

I can think of few things worse than solitary confinement. Hell I go crazy if I have nothing to do for even an hour on a plane. Five months with no Internet, no books, no music, no TV, and most of all no human contact would be unbearable.

I didn’t know that my case has reached NZ. I didn’t know that someone there in that beloved land thought, wrote, and cared about me. Internet is just great and you people deserve the land you love in. Your support and other NZ citizens like (http://poneke.wordpress.com) of my case meant a lot to me. It touched my heart deeply because I already have positive feelings toward your country and people since my childhood.

As I said, many NZ bloggers and others like the EPMU raised their voice in support. Getting this feedback from Faoud is a good reminder that we should be vocal more often.

I loved Tony Garea because my father did. I loved your country because of my best friend stories about it. These feelings have increased because of your support. I just can’t thank you enough for your support. It meant a lot to me more than you can imagine. Fouad Al-Farhan

Hopefully one day Fouad will be able to visit New Zealand. I suspect he will have no shortage of people willing to host him or show him around.

Debate on Absolute Power

April 30th, 2008 at 11:17 am by David Farrar

Poneke has blogged a review of Absolute Power, and there is a vigorous debate in the comments section, including author Ian Wishart, Keri Hulme, Russell Brown and even Kay Goodger who is featured in the book. My favourite point is when Ian Wishart labels Danyl M as “slippery”. The tag is catching on!

Incidentally I suspect the book is selling well. Both times I have been in book stories in the last week, and people ahead of me in the queue were buying a copy.

Du Fresne on blogs

April 30th, 2008 at 10:37 am by David Farrar

Karl Du Fresne had an article in yesterday’s Dominion Post about blogs:

BREAKING NEWS: Police hold grave fears for the safety of a man reported missing in the Internet blogosphere.

The man told family members he was taking a short afternoon excursion to explore Poneke’s Weblog … He hasn’t been seen since.

“Poneke’s is a relatively gentle blog that shouldn’t have exposed him to any serious risk,” a police spokesman said. “But there are lots of links leading off it to other blogs, some of which are a good deal more hazardous. He may have strayed off the beaten track.

“We’ve seen this sort of thing before. Someone sets out to have a look at a blog like Poneke’s, then they get diverted on to Russell Brown’s Public Address weblog or David Farrar’s Kiwiblog, and with just a couple of innocent clicks they wander off into the wilderness. They lose track of the passage of time and before they know it they’re hopelessly bushed.

“It’s a maze out there and he may have ended up a long way from where he started. There are links to political blogs, media blogs, sports blogs, wine blogs, heavy metal blogs, climate change blogs, hard-left blogs, extreme-right blogs, greenie blogs, sado-masochism blogs . . . you name it.

An inquiring mind could ask how Karl knows there are sado-masocistic blogs :-). Unless he means Whoar where reading Phil’s uncapitalised prose does cause pain!

The police spokesman said concerns were heightened by the fact that the man was inexperienced and poorly equipped.

“He’s not had much previous exposure to infantile abuse and personal invective of the type that he’s likely to find in the blogosphere. Also, his family advises us he has a history of severe allergic reactions to bad grammar, misspellings and missing apostrophes. We’re encouraging them to keep their hopes up, but it’s not looking good.”

I think Karl is admitting to a secret addiction. Or maybe he is the mystery Queen Bee blogging at The Hive!

Poneke on ANZAC Day

April 25th, 2008 at 10:30 am by David Farrar

Poneke reminds us how lucky those of our generation are:

I am from only the first generation in human history whose young men – teenage boys — were not forced by their country’s leaders to fight and kill the young men and teenage boys of other countries and be killed by them. My parents’ generation was the last such generation so far, and, I fervently hope, the last ever.

As a parent, scarcely a day goes by that I do not give thanks to having grown up in relative peace and that there is a good chance my children will not be forced to fight and maybe die in battle against someone else’s children. …

It’s Anzac Day today, and like she started doing several years ago, my daughter, 15, is attending two services. She is one of a growing number of her generation who have taken a great interest in the sacrifices made in battle by her forebears and sets out to honour them by attending Anzac Day events. I asked her this morning why, and her answer was simplicity itself.

“To pay respect for the people who died in wars,” she said. “The First World War could have been avoided but if people hadn’t stood up to Hitler he would have taken over Europe, and much of the world, so we were fighting for peace, odd as that sounds.” …

“I don’t like it when people protest at the cenotaph. They shouldn’t be protesting at the soldiers. They were only doing what they had to. They should be protesting at the governments that started the wars.”

We shall never forget, certainly not now that our children are ensuring that their great-grandparents and great-great-grandparents who were forced to fight and die in terrible, often futile battles long ago, will not be forgotten.

Poneke is such a good blogger, he should consider writing for a living 🙂

Blog Bits

April 22nd, 2008 at 9:44 am by David Farrar

Poneke has blogged a copy of his 2004 presentation to the Sceptics Society Conference, showing that the media generally are not sceptical of “alternative medicine” claims. It is an excellent read.

Stephen Franks points out that “that” ghastly song written by his rival Grant Robertson was intended for a fund-raiser at the Beehive for the Mary Potter Hospice, and that the Hospice has got damaged by the furore with donors threatening to pull funding if the song was used at the fundraiser. It was pulled, but really how on Earth did they ever think something like that would be suitable for a charity fundraiser.

To balance things up, I’ll link to Grant Robertson responding to Stephen on the issues of midwives and maternity care.  The response, missed the point to me. Women have basically lost the choice of having a GP deliver their children, as GPs have been driven out of the profession.

No Minister has this wonderful quote:

“Prince William landed his chopper in Kate Middleton’s back paddock.”

Heh Heh. Originally picked up by Iain Dale.

Whale Oil has discovered a new Helen Clark site. It gives a different message everytime. Just click reload.

The BBC has a homage of Donald Rumsfield’s best quotes.

Climate Change Censorship

April 18th, 2008 at 10:40 am by David Farrar

A lot has been written about the Listener’s dumping of “Ecologic” columnist Dave Hansford and whether it was linked to a complaint by Bryan Leyland – a prominent sceptic.

John Drinnan covers it in the Herald.

But Listener editor Pamela Stirling is insisting that the two events are unconnected and that she is losing a staffer because of budget cuts.

Wellington freelance journalist Dave Hansford has been the ecological columnist since November.

He has had differences of opinion with Stirling during much of that time and on occasion was asked to changed the tone of the column.

Hansford would not be the only staffer who has had differences of opinion with the Editor.

Stirling says Hansford was only ever hired as a short-term position for two months and the column was now being written by a staffer.

But it’s clear that Stirling’s approach to the eco-column – like her approach to the Listener – has been a lot more right of centre than the line of the old days.

Stirling took over in 2004 and she says that for a long time the Listener had been the house journal of the Alliance Party.

Stirling says the magazine is more centrist and allows everyone to express a view.

It was indeed the Alliance house journal. not that I had a problem with that – if enough people want to buy the Listener as a left wing magazine, good on them. And if enough want to buy it as a centrist magazine also good on them.

Poneke blogs on the issue also. Likewise Russell Brown. And the issue was first raised on the very good Hot Topic blog.

Meanwhile in Australia they have the opposite issue with Earth Day. The Melbourne Age is known to be a very left wing paper. I doubt more than 5% of their journalists vote Liberal/National. But even they have protested about the editor forcing them to write supportive material for Earth Day. Read this story in The Australian:

In a statement accompanying the resolution, staff said the Earth Hour partnership placed basic journalistic principles in jeopardy: “Reporters were pressured not to write negative stories and story topics followed a schedule drafted by Earth Hour organisers.”

Andrew Bolt points out:

In a statement of protest last week, 235 Age journalists confirmed that their coverage of last month’s Earth Hour had been, in effect, propaganda.

“Reporters were pressured not to write ‘negative’ stories and story topics followed a schedule drafted by Earth Hour organisers,” they said. 

That confession came after the ABC’s Media Watch released an embarrassing email sent by the green group WWF to Age editor-in-chief Andrew Jaspan under the creepy header Re: Any last requests?.

In it, WWF staffer Fiona Poletti replied she indeed had more requests, and told Jaspan to run three more puff pieces for Earth Hour, a stunt in which readers were told to help save the planet from global warming by turning off lights for an hour.

Here’s one: “We would love the fashion story to get a good run. This has been given to Orietta and is about the fashion industry’s unified support for Earth Hour.”

WWF ordered, Jaspan obeyed. The Age dutifully ran that story, under the headline: “Fashionistas no dummies when it comes to be switching off.”

WWF’s request for a second story on businesses backing Earth Hour? Also obeyed. On cities around the world joining in? Obeyed. In each case Jaspan had journalists writing, albeit unwittingly, to a green group’s script.

Bolt also observes:

The joke is most Age journalists are so green they don’t need to be pushed to preach this gospel. But their bosses’ prodding changes everything.

What a reporter may freely write as news becomes propaganda if he or she is not free to report all the relevant facts. So all Age journalists writing about Earth Hour, or global warming, must for now be considered propagandists.

Too harsh? Then consider: after all that pushing of the green line by Age bosses, which staff writer would dare write that global warming in fact may have stalled, with oceans cooling and the planet not heating since 1998? Indeed, none has.

Which Age staffer would dare write that Earth Hour actually saved so little in greenhouse gases that just eight cars will make good those emissions in a year? Again, none has.

And finally Bolt uses his own situation as an example of how editorial independence should be preserved:

Responsible newspapers at least try to ensure their staff know they are still free to dissent and report inconvenient truths, which is why I’m still here, writing as I do, even after our boss Rupert Murdoch last year said it was time to “give the planet the benefit of the doubt” with global warming.

Yep, that is how it should be.

Poneke on Meningococcal B

April 16th, 2008 at 12:50 pm by David Farrar

Poneke has his usual trademark lengthy and well researched post on the Meningococcal B immunisation campaign and laments that the media treat actual doctors and scientists with more scepticism than the fantastic claims often made by alternative medicine promoters.

The comments are interesting with Russell Brown explaining his views and involvement, and also a supportive comment by David Cunliffe for the post. Excellent to see Ministers making comments on blogs.

Blog Bits

April 10th, 2008 at 2:26 pm by David Farrar

No Right Turn blogs that he believes the NZ First advertisements do breach the Electoral Finance Act as “a reasonable person would regard it as an encouragement to vote for NZ First”. I agree. As Idiot/Savant says it is not a survey, it lays out policy and encourages approval of it.

Poneke has more on the BBC story on climate change which got modified. The reporter denied he did it under pressure, but an activist has blogged she successfully pressured him to change it.

The visible hand in economics looks at fixed vs floating exchange rates.

The DAFT Party has a solution for China over Tibet. It is to rename China to Tibet, and declare they are all Tibetians. The PRC Government should see the sense of this now they are running a market economy – you replace a tarnished brand with a more positive brand!

Bernard Hickey has video and a blog post on Alan Bollard’s speech suggesting we are talking ourselves into a recession. Bernard says we’re not, and if we do have a recession, it is because we deserve it! Them’s fighting words! It’s a lengthy excellent post with many graphs.

Blog Bits

April 6th, 2008 at 4:29 pm by David Farrar

Poneke has a vigorous debate on his blog about a BBC story that cast doubt on the extent of global warming, and how the BBC then changed its story.

Bernard Hickey writes on why the Reserve Bank should not yet lower the cash rate. I agree with him that there remain domestic inflationary pressures.

Bridget Saunders has an amusing blog on who are the real men. She names as real men – Richard Sigley, Rodney Hide, Matthew Ridge, Pat Rippin and Dave Henderson. Non real men are Brent Todd, Tea Ropati, Daniel Moyes, Helen Clark and Julie Christie.

Politico look at the possible VP choices for Obama.

Peter Ellis

March 28th, 2008 at 7:32 pm by David Farrar

Poneke blogged earlier this week that Rick Barker has turned down the petition for a royal Commission into Christchurch Creche and Peter Ellis.

This is a great shame.  You see for me it isn’t even so much about whether Ellis was guilty or not. I think most of New Zealand have decided he wasn’t, and he is out now. Just as important to me is having a proper inquiry into how the whole affair was handled, so we can learn from our mistakes. There were simply dozens of issues with the Ellis case that cause concern.

I had been hopeful that if National becomes Government, we might finally get a royal commission. But both Don Brash and Katherine Rich have or are retiring and won’t be in the next Parliament to advocate for it. So we may never get a satisfactory resolution.

The dangers of blogging

March 10th, 2008 at 11:46 am by David Farrar

This is very amusing.

Poneke blogged on the 25th of February about how the era of females occupying almost every top job in NZ seems to be coming to an end, and worried about the lack of role models for young women.

I have two daughters, and since their births I have told them them time and again to look at the country’s political, institutional and business leadership for the proof that “girls really can do anything” in New Zealand. During the last decade, and sometimes for much of the same time, we have had a woman prime minister, a woman leader of the opposition (they even swapped jobs in 1999), a woman governor-general, a woman chief justice, the chief executives of the country’s biggest listed company and one of the biggest banks were women, and latterly so has been the Speaker of Parliament. …

What does concern me is the growing shortage of highly visible top role models for my daughters and other girls and young women. Helen Clark will not be prime minister for much longer – at most till 2011 if she wins the election this year, and only till the coming election if she loses it. …

Then a couple of weeks later on the 9th, Aquilifer commented on the post:

Personally I find being told again and again “girls can do anything” to be demeaning, as is having every woman who has reached success of some degree or another shoved in my face as a role model. I’m not so stupid I can’t work out for myself my own abilities and potential.

It seems sexist to me that we have to gasp in delight and point out every successful woman, as if they have beaten insurmountable odds to get where they are. Now no societal barrier stops woman doing what they want, and we know that women can do every bit as well as men. Do we really need to point it out every time a woman gets into power?

We all reach our positions in life by our personal skills and attributes. The best woman or man will always win. If it’s a woman, that’s great, but if the best happens to be a man, there’s no need to be mournful- they’re still the best, and that’s all that should matter.

— Signed, your daughter

Classic. Poneke has a further thread on his (15 year old) daughter’s correcting of him.

Should WCC keep STV?

March 6th, 2008 at 11:31 pm by David Farrar

Poneke blogs that Wellington City Council should ditch STV – an issue they are going to consult on. I agree.

Now I actually support STV in many types of elections. In fact I introduced constitutional changes to InternetNZ so that candidates are elected by what is effectively STV, not FPP. National uses a form of STV for its internal elections for candidates and the board. I like and support STV in situations where it works well.
STV works well when the voter has a relatively small number of candidates to choose from, and they know most or all of the candidates. When you know the candidates you can quite easily make an intelligent choice about ranking X No 1, Y No 2 etc.

However STV is an unmitigated disaster for DHBs and a partial disaster for Councils.

Even the most politically active geek has no idea who 80% of the candidates for the DHB are. Trying to rank 30 of them in order based on who wrote the best 200 word bio is just insane, and it is no surprise turnouts are so low.

If one insisted on keeping STV for DHBs, then you would need very very small wards with one vacancy per ward.  That way you may end up just raking say four or five people for one local spot – something which might be possible if they are fairly well known locals.  Of course whether you want to have geographical segmentation like that for DHBs is another issue.

With regard to Councils, it is not quite as bad.  I actually like STV for voting for the Mayor. There is only one position to fill and it is possible to fairly sensibly rank say half a dozen candidates for Mayor. I like being able to express a second and third preference should my first preference fail to be elected.

But then when you come to wards, it becomes near useless again because again not even the political geeks can sensibly rank say 15 people competing for three Council positions. And so we have a 10% fall in turnout over two elections.  If you want to keep STV then you need small one person wards.

I could advocate STV for the Mayor, and FPP for Council but that may be too confusing.  So if WCC is to have one electoral system only, then FPP is best.